Episode 1 – Hello World! – Not Another Digital Marketing Podcast

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Rafie Edruce:

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are live from the very first episode of the First Page Digital podcast. I’m here with my good friend and possibly the funniest content producer in the world, Mr. Aaron Radcliffe. How are you doing, sir?

Aaron Radcliffe:

That’s a big introduction. I’m doing well, my friend. How are you doing?

Rafie Edruce:

It’s raining here in Singapore as we’re doing this. So it’s like, “Uh! Yeah.” But it’s an interesting morning because I’m feeling cheerful. The light is making me look cheerful, but outside it’s gloomy, gloomy, gloomy.

Aaron Radcliffe:

It’s quite the juxtaposition, isn’t it?

Rafie Edruce:

It definitely is, sir. So I guess we should start off with why we’re actually doing this because it’s a podcast out of nowhere. Everybody is doing a podcast nowadays. And before we get into the specifics of exactly why First Page Digital is doing this, we just want all of you listeners to know, the new listeners, i.e. everybody that’s listened to this for the very first time. We would love to hear from you. So please be sure to get in touch with us at all of our social media channels and pages, which we will share with you a little bit later on.

Rafie Edruce:

But first and foremost, the specifics out of the way. My name is Rafie and I’m based in Hong Kong.

Rafie Edruce:

Aaron, where are you based?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Actually, let’s clarify. Rafie is not based in Hong Kong.

Rafie Edruce:

Oh, man. Yeah. You see, this is the thing though, this juxtaposition. I’m thinking I’m in Hong Kong, but I’m actually in Singapore.

Aaron Radcliffe:

I understand completely plus the first podcast jitters. It’s just a part of the process. Guys, be prepared for mistakes because we’re going to make them, but that’s half the fun, right?

Rafie Edruce:

That is definitely half the fun. Probably all of the fun to be honest with you.

Aaron Radcliffe:

All of the fun.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, for sure. Oh gosh, you see, I’ve lost my train of thought already. Is that how these things go? You just have like this whole plan of what you want to say, and then it just goes completely out the window?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Out the window, and then you’re just improvising and yeah, that’s what we’re doing, my man.

Rafie Edruce:

That’s what we’re doing. Yes, I wanted to talk about where people can follow us. If you want to follow more information about First Page Digital Singapore, you can check out our website at firstpagedigital.sg. And for Hong Kong, you can follow them at …

Aaron Radcliffe:

Firstpage.hk, I believe. I’ll verify that in the show notes later though.

Rafie Edruce:

Firstpage.hk. Don’t worry, we’ll put all of this information in the show notes once this is published. And if you’re watching this on YouTube or any of the other video platforms, you will see this come across the bottom of the screen right now.

Rafie Edruce:

You may also follow us on [email protected] That is where you will find out information about both First Page Singapore and First Page Hong Kong. And you will find us at either First Page Digital Singapore, or First Page Digital Hong Kong on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Did I get that right? Did I get that correct?

Rafie Edruce:

Yes. I believe that is, when you get the process right, everything else just flows-

Aaron Radcliffe:

Falls into place, absolutely.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, amazing. So why are we doing the First Page Digital podcast? Well, when we were brainstorming how exactly we wanted to do the tagline for this, we kept on coming back to one thing, Aaron, if I may presume to speak for the both of us here to-

Aaron Radcliffe:

I’ll allow it.

Rafie Edruce:

… to our dear viewers out there that there are plenty of digital marketing podcasts out there. There are plenty of people that talk about marketing, and there are plenty of people that talk about stuff that goes viral. But there aren’t that many that talk about things that go viral from the perspective of digital marketers, such as ourselves and they’re not that many podcasts that talk about marketing outside of the vacuum that it generally existed.

Rafie Edruce:

So we came up with this tagline, and I all credit to Aaron for this, sir. This is a podcast about marketing through the lenses of life. That sounds really profound when I say that out loud. And I must say I got chills and shudders the first time you said that. And I was like, “I’m so inspired. We need to share this with the world.”

Aaron Radcliffe:

Absolutely, my man. And it’s not just that too, it’s also looking at life through the lens of a marketer as well as through the filter of a marketer. So it’s sort of a little bit of both. And yeah, the whole point of this was we were talking about doing the podcast and I’m someone who just consumes a lot of content and a lot of podcasts and a lot of digital marketing content. And I feel like there’s a pretty basic formula out there.

Aaron Radcliffe:

It’s a podcast, and they’ll have a light little chat about some sort of digital marketing tip for the day, and it’ll be sort of basic. And these are three tips for improving your conversions on your Instagram ads. Now, don’t get me wrong. That information is important, but it’s ubiquitous. It’s sort of everywhere. So we sort of looked at this as an opportunity to … We’re going to give you guys the tips, don’t worry. We’re going to give the people what they want, because those tips, those actionable sort of quick tips, they have value.

Rafie Edruce:

They matter, yeah.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Absolutely, but we just thought it would be interesting to also talk about other things, talk about small marketing tips that we can help you with. But also let’s look at larger marketing plans from Fortune 500 companies. Let’s look at the way that current events that are happening through the lens, through the filter of a marketer so we can sort of pick apart the way that things are being presented. What’s working with the way they’re being presented and what’s not.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And also just kind of having a bit more fun with it. I think that a lot of digital marketing material can be dry, can be just like it’s painful. You’re just trying to get the tips and I think that … I don’t know, man. For me, digital marketing is rock and roll. I love it. I think it’s the most exciting, cool, fun industry to be in. And I am very passionate about digital marketing as I know you are as well, Rafie, and I want to give that passion to other people so they can just understand how cool digital marketing is.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And not just from a sense that it’s fun and it enables you to be creative and it enables you to do so many things, but it also can help your business make a lot of money. And that’s awesome.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. I think there’s one thing that people don’t realize. Even when we talk about Fortune 500 strategies, and what it is that they do, sometimes people just don’t see the connection to what they’re doing on like an SME scale. Because it’s very easy to say, “Oh, this big company with a hundred million dollar budget can do all of these things.” But that doesn’t mean that the lessons that they put into play with those budgets can’t be applied to somebody whose budget is just a thousand dollars or even 500, because these lessons are universal.

Rafie Edruce:

Now that we’ve talked a little bit about what we’re planning on doing with the podcast, it’s time for us to get to know our hosts a little bit better. I’m going to start off here with Aaron because you know what, man, I love your voice and I could hear you talk all day. So I want you to introduce yourself and-

Aaron Radcliffe:

So ladies and gentlemen, hi, my name is Aaron Radcliffe. I’m a 31-year-old male from the United States of America, but I haven’t lived there for about eight years now. I’ve been traveling internationally for the past eight years, sort of just doing the backpacking thing around the world for a long time. And as I was doing that, I got into travel blogging. It made sense. I was traveling the world. I wanted to make a little bit of money. I was like, I’m going to start a travel blog. And I did.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And my goal was to use the travel blog as a tool to become a world famous travel writer and to write for National Geographic and be brought to far-flung lands, and none of that ever happened. What did happen though was it taught me the basics of digital marketing most specifically with SEO and copywriting and content marketing. And that just brought me down the rabbit hole of digital marketing. And from there, I got a taste and I was addicted. It was life-changing.

Aaron Radcliffe:

So a few years later, I was growing that travel blog and I learned the SEO side of things. I learned the content marketing side of things. So I started freelancing. I started freelancing doing SEO services, on-page SEO, consulting, marketing strategies, social media growth. And then this time I was just hungry to learn as much as I could. I was growing my own Instagram. I was building my own YouTube channels. I was building multiple blogs. I was learning Facebook ads. I was just trying to learn as much as I possibly could.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And I freelanced and traveled the world for a few years. I’d spent some months living in Columbia, working from Mexico, freelancing in Bali, Thailand. It was a great run. But now I’m settled down in Hong Kong, and while I do adore freelancing, it is a little bit of a lonely trade. Rafie, as you can imagine, you’re spending a lot of time on the road, you’re by yourself.

Aaron Radcliffe:

I remember there’d be like a week where I’d be at the computer and be like, “I haven’t spoken to anybody in like six days,” because that happens with freelancing. You’re so honed in, in your own world, and I’m sort of an extrovert. I’m not sure if that’s obvious. I get my energy from other people. I missed people. I was looking for the best digital marketing agency in Hong Kong to work for. I found First Page, got an offer and it’s been pretty awesome ever since.

Rafie Edruce:

Great.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah, man, so that’s me.

Rafie Edruce:

I can tell you love traveling. I mean I’ve traveled as much as I possibly could on the limited budget I have. And I don’t think I’ve even come close to like your breadth of travel experiences. So you know what? I’ll catch up with you one day, I promise.

Aaron Radcliffe:

We’ll talk over a virtual beer one night about that.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, for sure. So I want you to answer two questions. Number one, what are your biggest marketing pet peeves? I know it’s a tough one, because there’s so-

Aaron Radcliffe:

It used to be a long list.

Rafie Edruce:

Let’s limit it to two.

Aaron Radcliffe:

I might even just limit it to one because it’s one that is the constant source of pain, I think, for most businesses and for most marketers and anybody who’s in that mix from a business owner to a freelance marketer and anybody in between, is the perception of what the role of marketing is. This is my pet peeve. I think that we falsely believe that we should be able to draw accurate causations from marketing campaigns and be able to determine their ROI to a penny and on a month-to-month basis.

Aaron Radcliffe:

If we put in $100 SEO a week in four weeks, what does that give us in an ROI? Or if we run a new marketing campaign where we’re doing commercials on podcasts, what are we getting in return for that? And with marketing, I think it’s important to understand that drawing those sorts of correlations specifically, it’s impossible.

Aaron Radcliffe:

It’s a hundred percent impossible and with marketing, we have to understand that what we are doing is strengthening brand. We are creating awareness. We are strengthening sort of the perception of what our product is. We’re growing awareness. What we’re not doing, what we can’t do is necessarily create exact correlations between what a marketing campaign costs and what it brought in.

Aaron Radcliffe:

So that sort of a relationship, I think, is a big pet peeve to me because you’ll see it a lot of times in our agency. People want … And I understand from a business owner’s perspective. I owned my own business still to this day with my freelancing company, and I make affiliate income, and I’ve had to hire freelancers.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And as a business owner, spending money is freaking scary. And there are so many horror stories on the web of hiring the wrong agency. And it’s just like, you might as well just flush your money down the toilet. So I understand where business owners are coming from.

Aaron Radcliffe:

But I guess that my biggest pet peeve is that there was a better understanding that marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. Somebody who understands that an SEO campaign looking it from an 18-month perspective as opposed to an 18-day perspective is going to give you leaps and boundaries in terms of your ROI.

Aaron Radcliffe:

So I guess that’s kind of my long one-ish answer to the marketing pet peeve question. How did I do? Was that good?

Rafie Edruce:

No, that’s great because it was one answer, but it was multifaceted and it was well grounded and-

Aaron Radcliffe:

Well, what are your thoughts on it?

Rafie Edruce:

I actually agree with you because there is a perception and no disrespect to people that work in sales, but there is a difference between marketing and sales. And a lot of the time, the clients that we work with don’t necessarily understand that. And it’s a challenge to communicate that.

Rafie Edruce:

And even people that have been working in marketing before or claim that they’re marketers or identify as marketers don’t necessarily see it that way either. They tend to confuse it with sales. Again, no disrespect to my friends that work in sales. You guys do a great job.

Aaron Radcliffe:

They’re the rock stars. I mean there’s no marketing without sales. So we’re nothing without them. But yeah, they’re different.

Rafie Edruce:

That is it, definitely. Now you’ve talked about your marketing pet peeve. One more question for you. What is one thing that you think all marketers need to stop doing right now? You want to think about that one?

Aaron Radcliffe:

I do. Let me think about it, and as I’m thinking about it, I’m going to let you go ahead and maybe introduce yourself as well.

Rafie Edruce:

Okay, awesome. Well, my name is Rafie. I am a Malaysian. I am 36 years old this year. I’m trying to segment my work experience here, but it’s like … I’ve spent 10 years doing-

Aaron Radcliffe:

And ladies and gentlemen, get excited because Rafie’s work experience is a lot cooler than mine. I went to Thailand. You met Samuel L. Jackson, a huge, huge difference. So please take center stage. Tell us all about it, Rafie.

Rafie Edruce:

All right, cool. I have a background in content creation starting from, I think, 2010, 2011. But my main passion as a person has always been a story writer. I’m a storyteller. I’ve been writing short stories since I was like 10 years old. And you all can check out my short stories on gameandstory.com. That’s my personal website.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, I’m Malaysian. I’m 36 this year. I am currently staying in Singapore. I’ve been staying in Singapore for a little over a year now. I moved here a year ago.

Aaron Radcliffe:

I don’t mean to cut you off, but whereabouts in Malaysia are you from?

Rafie Edruce:

I am from the east part of Malaysia. Well, it’s technically an autonomous region, but for the sake of expediency, let’s call it a state. It’s called Sarawak. My hometown is called Kuching. We have the best food in the world bar none.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Not even in Malaysia. I thought you were going to say best food in Malaysia, which I thought would have been a controversial opinion but you went with the world.

Rafie Edruce:

The reason why I say this is because we have a dish that was created something in the region of … I think about 70 to 80 years ago, and it’s called Sarawak Laksa. And Sarawak Laksa only exists in Sarawak, number one. Number two, it’s so amazing that the dearly departed Anthony Bourdain would regularly visit our part of the world just to have this.

Rafie Edruce:

Yes, rest in peace, Anthony … And at his favorite stall, which I know of. And he put it on his Instagram once and he called it the breakfast of the gods. So you know what? If a ringing endorsement from the dearly departed, Anthony Bourdain doesn’t do it-

Aaron Radcliffe:

You can’t get any better than that.

Rafie Edruce:

You can’t get any better than that. So, best food in the world. If anybody wants to stop by my hometown, let me know and I’ll tell you where you need to go. So I moved to Singapore a year ago. I took up a job with ONE Championship, the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world as their Global Community Manager. I was taking care of 24 million fans across six different social networks.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, it is a lot. You’d be amazed at … Actually, no. I don’t think anybody would be amazed at the breadth of such a large fandom and the kinds of people that you meet in these situations. And it works for me because I love meeting new people. And even if it’s virtually via social media that way, which is actually quite funny because in person, I’m actually quite shy. I actually have like social anxiety. I’m actually a really shy person.

Rafie Edruce:

I sometimes have issues even talking to cashiers because I just get this crippling shyness. It’s weird, but I’ve worked in social for the last six years. I worked in content for 10 years. And I’m constantly meeting new people, but I’ve never been able to get over that shyness.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Do you find that it helps though with the shyness? Because I similarly have social anxiety. I think we all do to some extent. I’m sure there’s some virtuosos out there who never feel a dose of anxiety. And if so, I’m immensely jealous. But do you feel that this industry helps you overcome social anxiety in some ways because of that constant interaction?

Rafie Edruce:

Here’s a thing. It’s like you almost slip into this public persona that isn’t necessarily a reflection of who you are personally because I’ve had the privilege. It’s part of my work experience when I was working in social and whatnot of interviewing some really, really amazing people. I had a three-year stint as head of content, community and creative for TGV Cinemas, which is the premier Malaysian cinema chain. And as part of-

Aaron Radcliffe:

That’s when you got to interview Sam Jackson, right?

Rafie Edruce:

Exactly, yeah. And I got to meet some amazing, amazing people. I met the cast of the Kingsman-

Aaron Radcliffe:

List them off, go ahead. Don’t be modest.

Rafie Edruce:

I interviewed the cast of Kingsman in South Korea in 2017. I met Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, and Colin Firth. I met Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon when we did the press tour for Spider-Man: Homecoming. I interviewed Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, Gemma Chan.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Brie Larson, that’s a good name drop.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, Brie Larson, when we did the press tour for Captain Marvel. And I’ve had the privilege of meeting many actors of Stage on Screen across the Southeast Asian region as well as the Asian region and the APAC region. I’ve met Indian superstar, Rajinikanth, for example, who’s still going strong 40 years of movies and that guy just does not quit. And I’ve met so many amazing people. I’ve interviewed them and whatnot, and it’s just been such an amazing ride.

Rafie Edruce:

But I still find myself at some point being unable to talk to a cashier, having a little bit of an anxiety attack and asking whoever’s with me to like, “Hey, can you please order my burger for me? Because I can’t deal with people right now.”

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, it does. It really does. But I’ve been privileged enough in that sense to have been able to meet all of these people throughout work. I hosted live streams for TGV. I hosted video premiers and whatnot, red carpets, all those things. And it still hasn’t necessarily dampened the social anxiety, but it has sort of given me like a sleeve that I put on. That sort of gives me like this little safe space that I can go to, like this is my public face that I can make use of whenever I have these sorts of moments.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Rafie, I got two questions for you. I’m just going to shoot them off at the top of my head real fast. Question number one, biggest marketing pet peeve.

Rafie Edruce:

I think I alluded to it earlier when people confuse marketing and sales. Like you said, that whole ROI thing is like, “Oh, I’m spending this much money. How many sales am I going to get,” that sort of stuff. And it’s a pet peeve because we try our best to explain to the wider world. And it’s a perception issue, I think, not just with, say, clients. Maybe we don’t communicate it effectively enough or maybe I don’t communicate it effectively enough sometimes. And I will admit to failing sometimes in these instances. We all have blind spots.

Rafie Edruce:

But then even the wider public, there’s sometimes a misperception that marketing equals sales. And again, no disrespect to my buddies in sales. You guys are amazing. You guys are awesome. Without you guys, we would have nothing to market.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Very true.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. That’s probably my biggest marketing pet peeve.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Cool. You gave a more condensed answer than I. I will work on trying to give more condensed answers. I got a second question then for you Rafie. One thing that all marketers need to stop doing.

Rafie Edruce:

We need to get out of our bubbles, I think. There’s that perception that when Hollywood execs make movies, this is again a perception, not necessarily the reality. But when they make movies that have no place in reality, it’s like jimmed up by a couple of movie executives who are like, “Hey, this is a great idea,” and then they put together a movie that nobody wants to see because why would they? And I’m not going to name names here or give examples because I think we all know the kind of movies that we’re talking about here.

Rafie Edruce:

And I think that’s something that we marketers sometimes forget. We talk about our marketing funnels. We talk about this. We talk about branding. We talk about raising awareness, blah, blah, blah, stuff like that. But sometimes, it’s something that we don’t necessarily communicate effectively to our clients, to the wider public in terms that they understand, which is I think part of the reason why we’re doing this podcast, to sort of relate marketing concepts in general to real life so that people will understand what we’re talking about.

Rafie Edruce:

And I do believe that all marketers, at some point, have gotten so invested in a campaign that they’re like, “Oh, my god, this is like the best thing ever,” only for them to not be able to sell it effectively to a client or it doesn’t take off in the general public’s eyes because there was just that disconnect.

Rafie Edruce:

It’s going to happen. So we’re going to revisit that question as well. What do you think marketers need to stop doing?

Aaron Radcliffe:

You know what? I guess that we’re on sort of a theme here, the central theme of sales versus marketing and our inability as marketers maybe to always clearly convey the message that, “Hey, marketing isn’t going to have this immediate ROI, that there is this distinction.” Because all marketers, that’s a broad term. There are some people who just specialize in Facebook ads. There are some people who are like you and I who are a little bit more on the content side.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Marketers being such a broad term, I think, we’ll just stick with this overall theme that we’re talking about that from the marketer’s side, communicating to clients. I think setting expectations is crucial now. That does fall on the sales team a lot, but sometimes it’s just marketers and me freelancing. I noticed like the better … Don’t oversell because the better you can explain to … But don’t oversell. You want to oversell the longterm positive impacts, but maybe don’t oversell the short-term possibilities of what could happen because that’s when you get into dodgy territory right there.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And that’s the whole point of this, is that marketing is the marathon. It’s not a sprint. So don’t sell them on the sprint, sell them on the marathon because the marathon is where all the beautiful things happen. That’s where all the magic happens because we’re not in this to build businesses for quick wins because quick wins end up being long-term losses in the end. You want steady growth.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Obviously, we all want to go viral.

Rafie Edruce:

We want sustainability. That’s the word.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Sustainability, it’s the key. One in a million businesses are going to go viral and good for them. You cannot plan for viral. You cannot build for viral. What you can plan and build for though is you can implement proven marketing strategies that will elevate your brand’s growth in a slow and steady and sustainable manner. And that is the winning solution and those are businesses that last the test of time. So marketers need to stop trying to sell short-term solutions when marketing is a long-term experience.

Rafie Edruce:

Definitely. I agree with you there. I’m just having like a little bit of PTSD thinking about some of the KPIs I had when I remember someone was like, “Oh, yeah, so one of your KPIs is that you need to have one thing go viral every quarter,” and I’m just like-

Rafie Edruce:

I had someone give me a KPI once saying that every quarter I needed to make something go viral. At least one of the pieces of content I created go viral.

Aaron Radcliffe:

That’s the most stressful thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I almost threw up when you said that. Talking about anxiety, that just gave me so much anxiety.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And there’s no formula for virality. If it goes viral, it goes viral. That’s it. I mean, some of the dumbest memes ever that you’ve ever encountered have millions and millions of impressions. And literally, it’s just taking things from different pop culture aspects and then just putting it all together and then it just goes viral. There’s no formula to it. Sometimes it just happens.

Rafie Edruce:

Goodness, yeah. But to my credit, and I will say this as a little bit tooting my own horn here a little bit. I did manage to do it for one year. I did make four things go viral. As in like, I got like an engagement rate above like 2% on social as well as like-

Aaron Radcliffe:

Wow. So even though those KPIs were insanely optimistic, you still were able to hit them?

Rafie Edruce:

But I will say this. The method to the madness was just like being so on point with viral trends. That’s a free tip for everybody, by the way. And that’s also actually a hint of what we’re going to talk about in the next episode, which is social media.

Rafie Edruce:

And it’s just being on trend and knowing what those trends are, and actually trying to spot those trends before they even happen. Maybe we might give you guys, those of you that are listening right now, some indication as to how to spot those trends, who knows? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Rafie Edruce:

So yeah, we’re coming to the end of our chat today, Aaron. And want to have like a quick wrap up here?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah, dude. Let’s wrap it up.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. Basically, follow us in all of our social media channels. We’ll put them in the explainer below. Please do tune in for our next episode. We’re not sure when it’s going to happen, but it will be happening soon, hopefully within … Let’s not put a time stamp on it. You’ll hear it when you hear it.

Aaron Radcliffe:

They’ll hear it when they hear it.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And I guess that’s all for me. Aaron, any last words?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah. That’s about it, guys. The future episodes will not be as self-centric as these two episodes were. We just kind of wanted to get you guys familiarized with us. But moving forward, we’re going to talk about some really interesting concepts. We’re just going to try and push the envelope. We’re going to talk about really as much as we can, so you guys can get as much value from this podcast as possible with your marketing campaigns and your marketing knowledge. And it’s going to be fun.

Rafie Edruce:

Awesome. All right. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much for tuning in. We’ll see you in the next one.

Bye guys